NORTON, Mass. -- The Deutsche Bank Championship certainly is on the good side of Mother Nature. Last year, Hurricane Earl was bearing down on TPC Boston when it suddenly hung a right turn at Nantucket Island and went harmlessly out into the Atlantic Ocean. This year, the impact of Hurricane Irene on the venue and the surrounding area could have been much worse.
The massive storm -- 500 miles wide -- that battered the East Coast from North Carolina to Maine over the weekend did only minimal damage to the site of the second playoff event on the road to the FedEx Cup. Yes, there are still some areas without electricity -- like the hotel that was supposed to house the media -- but given the devastation in areas not far from here -- like Vermont -- the best-case scenario once again played out for the Deutsche Bank.
Charley Hoffman stunned everyone at last year's event. Photo: Getty Images
Now it is just a matter of getting down to golf, and adjusting to the fact this tournament doesn't start until Friday, ending on the Monday Labor Day holiday. Given the travel disruptions and clean-up efforts in the wake of Irene, the late start was a good thing.
Into mid-week, work crews were replacing TV towers, scoreboards, signs and netting that had been taken down in anticipation of Irene. Tournament officials said 75 trees were uprooted on the course property, including one that fell onto the merchandise tent, but that no damage was done to the competitive areas of TPC Boston.
So what is at stake this week? Ninty-nine of the top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings (J.B. Holmes is a WD because of his planned surgery to correct vertigo symptoms) will try to be among the top 70 to advance to next week's BMW Championship. The top 30 after that event go to the season-ending Tour Championship.
So here are the guys on the bubble: Anthony Kim, Robert Garrigus, Kris Blanks, George McNeill and Marc Leishman have spots No. 66-70 -- the last ones in. Brian Gay, Andres Romero, Chad Campbell, Kevin Chappell and Chris Stroud are No. 71-75 -- the first ones out.
And the weather? Well, it's supposed to be perfect here until Sunday and Monday when scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast. But the way things have gone for the Deutsche Bank, those storms will scatter to areas other than here.
-- *Ron Sirak